Contacts: Bill Williams (207) 287-4991
Gregg Hesslein, (207) 615-4210
Maine Forest Service to Hold Fourth Out-of-State Firewood Exchange
(June 30, 2011)
AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Forest Service, under the Maine Department of Conservation, will again hold an out-of-state firewood exchange this weekend to prevent the importation of dangerous invasive insects to Maine’s forests and to make Maine visitors and residents aware of the problem.
A detail of Maine Forest Service forest rangers will set up an exchange station for two days, Friday and Saturday, July 1-2, at the northbound Kittery rest area, Interstate 95. Not only will the forest rangers exchange out-of-state wood for Maine wood, they also will give out warnings to those who import the banned firewood.
For the fourth time since the state ban was put in place last year, MFS forest rangers will exchange the prohibited out-of-state firewood for disposal as a way to prevent the spread of two invasive species in particular: Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and emerald ash borer (EAB).
The threat from both invasive species to North American forests has become a matter of international concern, according to MFS officials. Both insects, already found in near-by states and Canadian provinces, threaten to destroy Maine’s forests.
The two invasive insects have destroyed millions of acres of trees in other states. ALB has infested the Worcester, Mass., area and recently was discovered in Boston. EAB, which has killed millions of ash trees and threatens Maine’s American Indian basket-making tradition, has been found in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
The first Maine firewood exchange was held September 2010, followed by similar exchanges in October 2010 and Memorial Day weekend 2011. Legislation calling for the ban was passed during the 124th Legislature.
Previous exchanges were very successful, and wood samples taken during the exchanges were placed in incubation at the New Hampshire Division of Forest and Lands, which has a hatching laboratory, according to MFS officials. So far, no invasive species have emerged. A final report from the lab is expected later this summer.
Similar to the previous exchanges, a detail of six Maine forest rangers will staff the Kittery rest area. Two large, message signs will direct travelers to the exchange station.
Anyone found transporting out-of-state firewood will be required to exchange their firewood for a comparable amount. The confiscated wood will be bagged in plastic and disposed at a wood biomass facility. Each exchange will be logged.
For more information on the Maine Forest Service, go to: www.maineforestservice.org
For more information about the Maine out-of-state firewood ban, go to: www.maine.gov/firewood